Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Family Story Time and Craft, 10/27

This is the only story time I have ever done where I didn't even bring the CD player into the room. And there is a very strong part of me that, after the success of today's session, wants never to bring the CD player in there again. There is just something about that connection you can make with kids with just your own voice. I think adults also have a harder time being rude (sometimes) when someone sits in front of the room and sings without accompaniment. This story time was fantastic - one of the best I've ever done, I think - and I'm really hoping to do more like it this Winter.

Part I: Halloween Story Time

Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

Song: If You're a Monster and You Know It

Book:  One Witch by Laura Leuck (2005)
The preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders in my group started saying "ewww" at the end of every page of this book, which was really funny, and kept the interest of some of the smaller kids who might not have been following the story.

Rhyme: One Little Ghost

Book: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (1986)
I know I could have used props or a flannel board or something to make this book more interesting, but I do a lot of that already, so I just read it straight. Some of the older kids caught onto the refrain and said  the sound of each article of clothing along with me. 

Song: Horns and Fangs, Knees and Claws

Song: Flap, Flap, Flap Little Bats

Book: Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw (1997)
You know, Sheep in a Jeep is a great book, but some of its sequels really tie up my tongue with their alliteration and rhyme.  I don't think most of  the kids had a good sense of the plot of this story, and I really didn't either.

Song: One Little Monster

Flannel Board Song: Five Little Pumpkins

Poem:  I wrote a Halloween poem to accompany our craft for today!  Click here for the pdf. And here's what it looks like:
It needs a title, but here's how it goes:

Flap, flap, flap
go the wings of the bat.

"Meow, meow, meow,"
says the little black cat.

The little white ghost says,
"Boo! Boo! Boo!" 

And the jack-o-lantern says,
"Happy Halloween to you!" 

Part II: Popsicle Stick Puppet Craft
After I read the poem and showed my example craft, each child received a sheet with four Halloween creatures on it, as well as a copy of my poem.

The craft page looks like this. (Download it here.)

 (I only used the one on the left, but another option would have been to print both sides and have them glue the puppets together around the stick to make them two-sided. But I was trying to simplify and save paper!)

I actually had the kids line up and I handed each of them their sheets personally. I did that for three main reasons:
  1. To bring order to the chaotic sprint from the story time room to the craft table.
  2. To ensure that every child who attended the story time would definitely get a craft sheet. (Our story room is carpeted and has no real breathing room for crafting, so I do the crafts out in the open space of the library, which means I have to allow walk-ins to do them, too. That is usually fine, and great for our stats, but as an upcoming Gettin Crafty post will show, there are days where greed gets the best of some people. Better to be safe than sorry.)
  3. To help me count how many kids attended the program. (I had 40 craft sheets, and had 15 left when I was done, so that meant 25 kids were there. Then I just had to count up the babies not doing the craft and voila! Instant stats.) 
I arranged for someone else to put the craft supplies onto the craft table for me, so when the kids emerged from the story time room, they found crayons, popsicle sticks, glue sticks, and scissors waiting for them.

Here are the instructions for the craft:
  1. Color Halloween creatures.
  2. Cut out creatures (possibly with the help of an adult.)
  3. Glue a popsicle stick to the back of each colored creature.
  4. Use puppets to perform the poem.
I was pretty proud of my little poem to begin with, since it came to me so quickly, but on top of that, I happened to overhear two little friends - a boy and a girl around age 5 - making plans to perform the poem together for their families. I can think of no higher praise.


  1. Great craft idea and I totally agree about the CD player. I noticed the few times I used one, I got less of a response than when I didn't.-Michelle

  2. I love your ideas-great songs and craft!

  3. Great ideas! I'm borrowing some of this. And it's funny--I've never used a CD player for my story times, and the overwhelming response from the grown-ups is that they LOVE it. They think the CDs are much less personal, and I have to agree, though my throat sometimes takes a beating depending on how many songs I do (usually lots!)


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